X, Y, Z, &

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hello fellow BNR students. If you where in class this last Wednesday, you would have learned why a comma looks the way it does. This got me thinking of why other puncuations marks look the way they do. Have you ever wondered why? Well, if that is a yes, you are in luck because listed below is a few of the common punctuation marks and how they came about.

The question mark. You know that little scribble and dot? Yeah, just like that. When Latin scholars wrote a sentence that was question, they would write the word "questio" at the end of it. As you can imagine writing that word got old and it was shortened to "qo." This got confusing too and it got changed to a q on top of a o. Very similar to what the question mark looks like nowadays.

The exclamation point. That super excitied dot and line! Well it is like the question mark. It is based off the Latin word "io," meaning "exclamation of joy. When written vertically, with the i above the o it begins to look like the exclamation point we see today.

The last punctuation mark was actually considered to be the 27th letter of the alphabet. "X, Y, Z, &." This mark is called the ampersand, but was orginally pronunced "and, per, se." It just got mashed together and is no longer the 27th alphabet letter.

If you would like to check out more punctuation marks and where I found this interesting information, check out the link.
Photo Credit: Via Creative Commons


Erin Gerken February 9, 2011 at 10:51 AM  

I think all that information is fascinating. I had no idea about the origins behind those punctuation marks. It is crazy that things that we use every day like the question mark have such a unique origin. It makes me wonder if there are punctuation marks that no longer exist.

Morgan Abel February 9, 2011 at 11:32 AM  

I was happy to read that not all punctuation marks have a vulgar origin like the comma.

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